IRVING, Texas – Sunday's game against the Chiefs could have turned out much differently if not for a pass interference call against Morris Claiborne on a third-and-10 pass before the two-minute warning.
Head coach Jason Garrett said he had no problem with the call against Claiborne, which effectively ended the Cowboys' chance at a comeback.
"Obviously, we don't want him to be that aggressive," Garrett said. "I think that call was a legitimate one. He grabbed him a little bit and I think that call was the right one."
Claiborne played mostly in nickel situations throughout the day, as he still recovers from a dislocated shoulder he suffered in the opener. Garrett said Claiborne needs more poise in those situations, and that's usually one of his strengths.
"He doesn't panic when the ball's in the air, and has good body control when he's dealing with the receiver and the ball," Garrett said. "This particular time, he didn't do that. He just got a little aggressive and really didn't need to do that, and they made the right call."
Claiborne's only picked off one pass since coming to the NFL last season, but Garrett still believes the first-round pick makes a lot of plays on the ball. He also described the cornerback as a natural pass catcher.
"You see it in practice, you'd like to see it more in games," Garrett said. "That really hasn't been an issue. He does have a knack for the football, and we think that's a good thing. He naturally catches the ball and his relationship with the receiver is typically pretty good. He has long arms and good hands and is able to make plays on the ball. Obviously, we want to see more of those in ballgames." [embedded_ad]
The Cowboys elected to keep just four cornerbacks on the 53-man roster this week, despite Claiborne's injury. Garrett said the team will continue to look at Claiborne's health and what's available in free agency before making any further decisions.
Claiborne's replacement in Sunday's game, Orlando Scandrick, finished the day with four tackles and a blocked field goal. Garrett said he liked the way Scandrick competed with receivers on the outside.
Scandrick moved back inside on nickel situations when Claiborne entered the game. The Cowboys are trying to monitor Claiborne and figure out the best way to move forward after his shoulder injury.
"We'll keep watching that and see how he functions," Garrett said. "I thought he competed well despite that. It's a physical game. You've got to kind of make plays outside as a cover guy but also tackles. He was fighting through some of that stuff and did some good things in the game and other things weren't quite as good. But we're trying to get him right, trying to manage the situation the best we can."